United States Strategic Command (USSTRATCOM) is one of the eleven unified combatant commands in the United States Department of Defense. Headquartered at Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska, USSTRATCOM is responsible for strategic deterrence, global strike, and operating the Defense Department’s Global Information Grid. It also provides a host of capabilities to support the other combatant commands, including integrated missile defense; and global command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (C4ISR). This command exists to give national leadership a unified resource for greater understanding of specific threats around the world and the means to respond to those threats rapidly.
USSTRATCOM was originally formed in 1992, as a successor to Strategic Air Command in response to the end of the Cold War and a new vision of nuclear warfare in U.S. defense policy. Department of Defense changes in command structure due to the “Goldwater-Nichols Act” of 1986, led to a single command responsible for all strategic nuclear weapons. As a result, USSTRATCOM’s principal mission was to deter military attack, and if deterrence failed, to counter with nuclear weapons. Throughout its history, it has drawn from important contributions from many different organizations stretching back to World War II. Providing national leadership with a single command responsible for all strategic nuclear forces, General George Butler, in establishing the new command, borrowed from the work of General Curtis LeMay, an early commander of Strategic Air Command. LeMay was a very vocal advocate for a strong national defense, particularly as regards nuclear weapons.
The Global Operations Center, or GOC, is the nerve center for USSTRATCOM. The GOC is responsible for the global situational awareness of the commander, USSTRATCOM, and is the mechanism by which he exercises operational command and control of the Nation’s global strategic forces.
The USSTRATCOM Underground Command Complex at Offutt AFB provides an alternate missile warning correlation center to the Cheyenne Mountain Missile Warning Center. It is the prime source of missile warning data for USSTRATCOM for force survival and force management. The facility consists of the integration of the SCIS, CSSR, and CCPDS-R systems and also upgrade equipment and communications links. U.S. Strategic Command’s Airborne Command Post (ABNCP), also called “Looking Glass”, allows USSTRATCOM the ability to command, control, and communicate with its nuclear forces should ground-based command centers become inoperable.